Page last updated at 16:00 GMT, Wednesday, 28 May 2008 17:00 UK

Harassment fear in bomb community

Nicky Reilly
Nicky Reilly suffered eye and facial injuries in the explosion

Police have appealed to ethnic communities to work together following a bomb blast in Exeter.

The Devon Racial Equality Council has said some local Muslims have reported instances of racial harassment.

Police said while there was no specific evidence of an increase in actual incidents, they were aware of emerging tensions in local communities.

Two men arrested in connection with the explosion last Thursday are continuing to be questioned by police.

Nicky Reilly, 22, from Plymouth, was arrested after a device detonated at the Giraffe restaurant in Exeter city centre.

He suffered eye and facial injuries in the blast and spent several days in hospital before being transferred to police custody.

People are staying in their houses
OC Mitchell, student

Reilly, who converted to Islam a number of years ago and had changed his name to Mohammed Rasheed, is believed to have had a history of mental illness.

Another man arrested by armed officers outside a Plymouth cafe on Friday is also being questioned.

A third man detained in Plymouth is "continuing to assist police with their enquiries" but is no longer being held in custody.

Under anti-terrorism legislation, suspects can be held for 28 days.

Ch Supt Jim Webster said some local communities were "naturally concerned" and felt they were "under the spotlight.

Additional patrols have been put on the streets of Plymouth to reassure local residents.

'Long inquiry'

Plymouth student OC Mitchell told BBC News there was increased tension in the city.

"People are staying in their houses and nobody wants to leave because they're scared of what might be said on the street."

Mr Webster, who has been meeting MPs, councillors and community leaders to discuss the situation, said the investigation into the Exeter explosion in Exeter would be a "long inquiry".

He added: "Terrorism isn't the product of any one religion or community - it is a crime."

Officers have carried out searches at a number of properties in the city, including a terraced house in Old Laira Road and a building in Connaught Avenue.

A team of detectives from Devon and Cornwall Police are being assisted in their investigation by officers from Scotland Yard's counter-terrorism branch.


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